Journal Article


Increased Aid: Minimising Problems, Maximising Gains

Published on 1 September 2005

A major increase in the amount of aid to less developed countries is widely anticipated, by or soon after late 2005, to bolster efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The sums involved may not be as substantial as expected, and they come mainly from Europe, but we are still likely to see a significant enhancement of funds for development.

With them will come both opportunities and dangers – which the articles in this collection analyse. We give more attention to the dangers, because we seek to minimise them. Our main concern is to anticipate problems so that they can be tackled. This is crucial because if a major increase in aid yields disappointing results, the future of development assistance could be called into question – it could make aid, not poverty, history.

This IDS Bulletin discusses issues that must be addressed to maximise constructive impact. Some contributors oppose additional aid, though most offer less negative views while recognising attendant problems. Recipient governments’ efforts to promote fiscal discipline and export-led growth already face serious impediments, and may be unhinged altogether with additional aid. Fragmentation of donor efforts may also undermine governments’ absorptive capacity.

Governance reforms, perhaps crucial for effective use of additional aid, may be damaged if they are accelerated in direct response. Such issues should be taken seriously, since steps can be taken to deal with them; many articles here offer suggestions. If problems are not addressed, they could provide ammunition for those who claim incorrectly that aid cannot work, and discredit the case for generous aid flows. We want aid to be made history – but for the right reasons.

Table of contents

Introduction: Increased Aid: Minimising Problems, Maximising Gains (pdf) James Manor

‘The Case for Doubling Aid’ Howard White

‘Don’t Throw Money at Africa’ Tony Killick

‘Increased Aid vs Absorptive Capacity: Challenges and Opportunities Towards 2015’ Paolo de Renzio

‘Major Additional Funding for the MDGs: A Mixed Blessing for Capacity Development’ Ole Therkildsen

‘Implications of Substantially Increased Development Aid: The Case of Uganda’ Damoni Kitabire

‘Implications of a Major Increase in Aid to Africa: The Case of Zambia’ Oliver S. Saasa

‘External Aid to India’ Naresh C. Saxena

‘Increasing Aid for Poverty Reduction: Rethinking the Policy Agenda’ Rehman Sobhan

‘The State and Governance: The Main Bottlenecks for Absorbing Massively Increased Aid?’ Albrecht Stockmayer

‘Reaching the Health MDGs with Human Resource Reforms: Financial, Educational and Management Capacities’ Thomas Bossert

‘Aid Ineffectiveness in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Problem of Donor Capacity’ Diana Conyers and Rob Mellors

‘Aid and Governance: Doing Good and Doing Better’ Aaron Schneider

‘Donors’ Learning Difficulties: Results, Relationships and Responsibilities’ Rosalind Eyben

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published by
Manor, J.
James Manor
IDS Bulletin, volume 36, issue 3


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